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By Madder Than Hell (Tea Party Diary)
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I Remember England

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This Friday American Freedom Alliance had their first event since the COVID-19 lock down. We sold out in the first two days. We could only have 80 people and it had to be outside on the patio but all of us were so grateful to get together and hear our wonderful, funny, courageous, force of nature, KATIE HOPKINS speak. 

Katie is so good at working the room. I think she spoke to everyone and posed for endless pictures. She is clearly adored in this company. She talked about having to quarantine in Barbados (poor thing) in order to break into America. As you know, there is a ban on travel from China and Europe. 

Katie had to come. She had to do whatever she could to help Trump’s re-election. Katie knows if America falls, so will the rest of Western Civilization. She regaled us with stories of her travels around America and people she met who are working so hard to save this country. These are people who LOVE this country, who are happy and hopeful. Not the miserable, malcontents who think this country was never great. 

Katie talked briefly about something I can’t stop thinking about. She said it was too late for England and Europe. She said in the next decade Muslims will be the majority. As we speak the number one name for babies born in England is Mohammed. So is number two. The English people aren’t allowed to fly their flag because it is considered racist.  Even if they don’t want more Muslim immigrants, as long as they are in the European Union Muslim “refugees” from any European country can go to England or any other country in Europe.  My memories of England and my life long English friends swept over me like a tsunami. My house is filled with my memories of England. 

I first went to England in 1975 when England was still England. I’m so grateful that I was able to know England before Agenda 21. My second husband, Jonathan, arranged a surprise trip for our first anniversary. We had round trip tickets to England and a Euro-rail train pass but made no reservations for hotels or plans on where to go. We wanted to stay where natives would stay, decide how long to stay in various countries and what countries to visit. 

When we landed at Heathrow we asked the taxi driver where English people would stay if they were visiting London. He took us to one of those white painted row houses you see in movies. It had been turned into a bed and breakfast called the Sumner Hotel in South Kensington. We loved it. Very inviting and homey. And great breakfasts. Eggs and bangers (isn’t that what you call sausages?) and scones. 

Although we wanted to feel British, there was no mistaking us for natives. Jonathan, although he went to Groton and Harvard and had a degree in architecture, always dressed like a cowboy. His family owned the largest cattle ranch in California but I don’t think that was why. He wore jeans tucked into cowboy boots, a hand tooled western belt with a silver buckle and a flower printed cowboy shirt. He also had a beaded, fringed pouch he wore hanging from his belt that he carried his credit cards and money in. Jonathan was also very handsome. I don’t say this in any way to brag. It was often very annoying. Women would literally push me out of the way to talk to and flirt with him. It was as if I didn’t exist. Hello! He’s married to ME! 

We were standing in line to see a Monty Python movie…..my first Monty Python. There were two couples standing in front of us. They noticed the American cowboy and started talking to us. Jonathan and I were in our 30’s, the couples in their 20’s. Johnnie, a skinny, very white, brunette, (sort of a Mick Jagger look alike) happened to be the son of an English Lord, member of the House of Lords. Jamie, a tall, skinny, freckled, curly haired readhead,  was the son of a Broker at Lloyds of London.  We all sat together for the movie and after they invited us to join them at a pub. We became fast friends. 

The next day they invited us to go to a costume party. It was hysterical. The English aren’t afraid of making fun of themselves. A lot of the men were dressed like the Queen.  The next night Johnnie said his father wanted to meet these Yankee cowboys. Lord Denman had a flat on Kings Road in Chelsea for when he needed to spend time in London. They had their family estate in Sussex. https://www.geni.com/people/Charles-Spencer-Denman-5th-Baron-Denman/6000000013518736582

Lord Denman was just as I imagined an English Lord to be…..balding, white hair, a pleasant face and a pin-stripped, three piece suit. He was sitting in a big, leather chair in front of a fire, sipping a brandy. He was warm and charming and wanted to know everything about the Sedgwick ranch and life in California. He ended up going to dinner with all of us and then to a disco. I think we got back to our hotel about 3:00am. 

We stayed in London a week and before we left we saw Paul Scofield in the Tempest. When I think of that now, I’m knocked out. We left London for Paris and spent the next two weeks traveling around Europe. What I LOVED was crossing borders to a different language and money and culture in such a small area. The countries looked and felt different. In English churches I felt there must be monks flailing themselves somewhere in them. They were beautiful but dark. Italian churches were light, filled with wonderful statues. In Paris, the Notre Dame….I have no words. 

In those days there were no suitcases on wheels, so you had to carry your bags when you got off and on planes or trains or taxi’s. I quickly realized the gynormous suitcase I brought wouldn’t do for the Euro-rail train pass around Europe. I packed what I absolutely needed in a smaller bag and we left our big bags at the bed & breakfast in London for when we returned. When we returned to London it felt like we came home. 

About six months after we returned to California, Johnnie and James came to visit for a few weeks……they stayed a year. Actually, after staying with us on the beach for a few weeks they got an apartment in Carpenteria for the rest of the time. They fell in love with my Pontiac Grand Prix convertible. It was navy blue with red leather interior. They had never driven a car that powerful. …or that big. I must say, I loved that car too. The boys borrowed it every chance they got. At the time I also had a Porsche’ so they borrowed it often. 

We took them to the ranch to meet “Mummy”. Meeting “Mummy”, Jonathan’s mother, was just like meeting the Queen…..in fact, “Mummy” looked very much like the Queen. She had short, tightly curled grey hair. She wore tweed skirts with sweater sets, sensible shoes and when she rode the horses, she wore a scarf (or babushka) on her head. 

You had to request an audience. She had a special chair. The first time I came to meet her I mistakenly sat in her chair. Jonathan quickly told me I couldn’t sit there so I dodged that bullet. “Mummy” said my face had character when we first met. Interestingly, “Mummy” came to adore me. She told her children she didn’t love any of them more than me…..that made me a real favorite with them….as you can imagine. 

While the boys were staying in California, Sir Charles came to visit several times. We bought him a Stetson cowboy hat (which he wore) and took him to see the ranch. “Mummy” was SO pleased. Sir Charles called me “Duckie” and he brought me a crystal duck on one of his visits. It lost it’s head during the 92’ earthquake but I still have it. 

A few years later, having lived with my psychopathic cowboy long enough, I decided to go to England to get away from him. The Denmans were happy to have me come. When I landed at Heathrow a man in a black livery suit was holding a sign that said, “Mrs. Sedgwick”. Sir Charles had send a limo for me. I had never driven in a limo before. The driver handed me a note from the Denmans. It welcomed me and said I could stay in the Chelsea flat. It said Sir Charles would come for me on Friday to take me to Sussex for the weekend. 

I settled in and then went out to get some food for the kitchen. Walking down Kings Road there were people dressed in ripped fishnet stockings and satin hot pants, with bizarre makeup. I thought, “Wow, is this what is in fashion in England now?”

I learned they were going to see the “Rocky Horror Show”. That people dressed like the characters and spoke the lines and sang the songs along with the show. 

I loved that neighborhood. There was a great grocery store across the street with delicious pate’. There were antique bazaars up and down the street. I bought several small silver pieces. The first night Johnnie called and said I should come with them to a disco. It was down some stairs under a restaurant. It was very dark. Lots of loud music, dancing and drinking.

Sir Charles picked me up and we drove to Sussex. The Estate House had been sold years ago for taxes (taxes had forced most families like the Denmans to sell their family Estates). Their Estate was now a boarding school. They lived in what was the servants house. It was a very large house and grand by most standards, 5 or 6 bedrooms, a nursery, library, music room, besides the normal living room, dining room and kitchen. But compared to the Estate house (castle really) it was small and humble. It was on a hill overlooking the, now, school. They still owned most of the land surrounding their home and their grounds keeper had quail hunts there. We had quail one night for dinner. 

The first night we had dinner in the library. Again, this was just as I imagined. Bookcases lined the walls with a wooden ladder on wheels to reach the higher shelves. There was a piano in the corner. The windows had leaded triangle shaped panes. There was a large fireplace in the middle of the wall. You could stand in it. There was a lovely fire going. And in front of it were several floral printed easy chairs as well as a leather couch. The cook brought us shepards pie, except instead of beef, there were pieces of fish, shrimp and scallops. It was REALLY good. 

Sir Charles wanted to know what I’d like to do. I told him I wanted to buy some Pine antiques. He couldn’t understand why I would want Pine. That’s what the help used. I explained Shabby Chic was in fashion and we loved pine antiques. My original idea was to buy several pieces and sell them….but then I couldn’t part with any of them. I mean, who has antiques an English Lord helped you pick out? 

That weekend Sir Charles took me driving all over the English countryside looking for pine antiques.  We finally found a place that had dozens of pine antiques. I wandered through the shop looking at all the different ones. I still remember the smell of wood and furniture polish. I chose four different pieces. A very large sideboard with shelves for dishes; a smaller similar one; a large dresser with a beautifully carved back; and a smaller one.  We arranged for them to be shipped to California. When we returned to their house we had afternoon tea in the garden. Once again, I felt as if I were living in an English movie.  

Typical of Jonathan, he was calling the Denmans frequently telling them how he had been so terrible to me and he was SO sorry. Asking for their help in reconciling with me. He made plans to travel to England and there was no stopping him. Jonathan arrived all remorseful and teary eyed. I knew Jonathan too well to be impressed by his dramatic display but if I made that known it would have disappointed the Denmans so I accepted his apologies with the same sincerity as he gave them. 

We spent the week days at the flat in Chelsea and the weekends in Sussex. Jamie’s father took us to Lloyds of London. We overlooked the trading floor from an upper floor.  They traded with a handshake. We then had lunch in their private dining room. Later in the week we were invited to an antique car rally. Jonathan was given period clothing to wear. The cars drove through the countryside to a large park where they were displayed for people to look at. Jonathan was the passenger in a very funny looking car. He had to climb steps to get up to the seats. 

Sir Charles knew I also wanted either a painting or a ships model for the mantle of our beach house and he took me to an area of London that had antique and art stores. We looked at some paintings and some ships models but the ones I liked were very expensive. As we were looking in the window of a shop that had some paintings of ships in the window, I noticed a ships model on a top shelf inside the shop. We went inside and asked about the ship. The owner said it wasn’t really for sale because while they were re-rigging the sails it fell off the shelf and was damaged. I asked to see it. The owner said it was a model of a ship that actually existed. He said in the past they would make a model of a ship the way architects make models of buildings they are going to build….often to get funding for it. This ship was a slaving frigate called the Dos Amedas. He agreed to sell it to me at a fraction of what it was worth because it was broken and the rigging wasn’t finished. It is still one of my most prized positions. They had it shipped to me. I couldn’t believe how it arrived. They took such care. It was in a wooden box that was about six feet high and five feet wide. I think you could have dropped it from a ten story building and it wouldn’t have broken.

Jamie’s parents called and wanted to take us to the theater. They said “Hair” had just opened and was the hot ticket. They wanted to know if we wanted to see “Hair” or something else. I definitely wanted to see it. They took us to dinner and to see “Hair”. They clearly knew nothing about it. When the famous ending happened they were mortified. Jamie’s mother couldn’t stop apologizing for taking us to this obscene spectacle. We kept assuring her we were not offended but I’m not sure she ever got over it. 

A few years later I moved from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles to work in the entertainment industry. Johnnie’s brother James visited me in Los Angles and so did Sir Charles when he was in LA for business. The last time I saw Sir Charles he was staying at the Bel Air Hotel with his wife for a big event. He called and asked me to join them for a drink before their event. They were in one of the “cottages”. We laughed and chatted as if no time had passed. 

Sir Charles died in 2012 but I’m reminded of him and his family, Jamie and England when I look around my house. I’m so grateful for my memories and so angry at our world leaders who have stolen our identities, our cultures, our history from us. 



Source: https://madderthanhell.wordpress.com/2020/11/02/i-remember-england/


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